Ipseity: a surreal painting | Laura Kranz
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Ipseity: a surreal painting


Definition: individual identity; individuality; selfhood.

Drawing specs

Title: Ipseity
Dimensions: 16″ x 20″
Materials: Liquitex acrylic paint, gloss gel medium, water, Winsor-Newton canvas
Series: A surreal art piece from my work made in 2017.

About Ipseity

The image for the surreal painting, Ipseity, came to mind at random while I was on a walk. I was thinking about the temporary and fragile nature of individual human lives, and the strange experience of having an individual identity. You know, as one does.

In that image, I envisioned a complex network of veins making up a human face; light, ghostly veins emerging from a dark backdrop. Originally I thought the concept would be better suited to drawing, since I wanted to get very granular with the vein detailing. And I would have made it a drawing, and not a painting, if I had the art supplies on hand to make it possible.

What I should have done is actually gone to the art store and bought black paper and white pens (or possibly white gauche). This, I did not do. As much as I like to be calculated and strategic in other areas of my life, in my art, I just chaotically have at it. This might be more force of habit than anything else; perhaps it’s an approach I need to work on.

As you’ll see in the video below, making the painting was a rather frustrating process.

So … yeah. The process of creating Ipseity was a little laborious and forced. And almost demoralizing. But I got through it.

I finally got the painting to an acceptable point—and I do actually think it looks pretty neat. But it doesn’t look like the original image I envisioned.

Veins have lately been particularly interesting to me. I explore them a lot in my organic form drawings, and did a whole series last year on the vein patterns you find in leaves.

I may approach the concept again with a more well-suited medium to the desired outcome. But no guarantees. Knowing myself, there will be a lot more surreal concepts where that one came from … concepts that I’ll find more exciting because they’ll be new, and untouched.

See other work from 2017

You can take a peek at what I’ve made so far (and what I’m planning on making) in 2017 here.

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